Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Change of Heart

I blogged a while ago about how I typically prefer singers of the national anthem to not put too much interpretation into it. But a couple of months ago, we visited the "official" flag exhibit at the National Museum of American History, which I've always loved. This time, though, I was struck by a little piece near the end of the exhibit that briefly discussed how different individuals and groups through the decades have brought new interpretations to the Star-Spangled Banner, and thus made it their own, much like America become the adopted nation of a variety of different races, ethnicities, religions, etc.

This sort of changed my mind a little about different renditions. I suppose musically I still prefer more "straight" versions of the anthem, but it makes me happy that others can bring into it the emotion and love they feel for our country. I think it is pretty fantastic that it can become familiar and comfortable and a true anthem for each individual. I'm grateful for that message. Now I just wish performers would do the fourth verse.

Or maybe this is just my way of admitting my secret love for David Archuleta.


Zack said...

I don't think that an exhibit built around an object that the museum stole should cause any meaningful change of heart.

And groups changing the way they sing the national anthem is one thing -- every single country singer singing it completely differently than every single other country singer is another thing entirely. At a sporting event, it shouldn't take more than a minute to sing the national anthem -- otherwise you're probably trying to make the song about you instead of about our flag and country. I don't like it when a performer decides that people are standing for them or cheering for them instead of for their country (and baseball)

Zack said...

That first little paragraph should have been followed by a nice little tongue-in-cheek emoticon. (Though the Smithsonian did steal it.) Otherwise I sound like even more of a jerk than I actually am. (And I'm a pretty big jerk, so that's though.)

preethi said...

So far as I understand, Lt. Armistead kept the flag during the War of 1812, and his relatives voluntarily lent and then gifted it to the Smithsonian. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Also, the point of the post was that while the song is about the flag and the country, the flag and the country represent the people, with their similarities as well as their differences. While I still agree that the performer should make every effort to make the anthem about their country rather than themselves, I no longer think there is one "best" way to sing it. The various styles of singing represent the various "styles" of Americans, if you will.

Dblock said...

That's one of the things I miss about living in D.C. All the free museums and concerts. There is never a reason to be bored in D.C. unless you choose to be.

And Congrats on the baby

Dblock said...

Just in case your wondering my screen name is DBlock = diane russo